Neil Morris

Neil Morris

Dean of Digital Education and Professor of Educational Technology at the University of Leeds. For more information see: https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/education/staff/156/professor-neil-morris

Location Leeds, UK

Activity

  • Welcome William - thank you for joining the course - looking forward to reading your thoughts, and hearing about how unbundling is playing out in Japan.

  • Hello Joyce - welcome to the course - your role and context will provide fascinating insight for our community.

  • Welcome, Ozomarisi - I am looking forward to hearing your perspectives on this subject.

  • thanks for your post, Nokuthula, and for reminding us of important work about equity, which is a central issue for us all.

  • Thanks for the feedback, Gilbert. I don't think it is out of date - conversations between universities and OPMs are happening as we speak about which of these activities might be done by in partnerships to scale up online education, as a response to covid. Hope I haven't misunderstood your comment.

  • @StefanDrew I agree that this might be part of our future, and our research aims to understand the impacts of this on universities, academics, students etc. Do you think this will be a positive change?

  • Hello everyone, and welcome to the course - we hope you find this useful to help during the current situation. I've just written a blog post related to this research project, which you might also find useful: https://www.hepi.ac.uk/2020/04/29/scaling-up-online-education-more-haste-less-speed/ Looking forward to hearing your thoughts in this community.

  • Many thanks for your thoughtful reflection Susan - i completely agree with your analysis. I hope this course helps you to navigate this terrain in the future. Best wishes
    Neil

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Susan. These maps are snapshots of the situation at a current time . Unfortunately, we don't have the resources to keep these maps updated live. Your point about academic concerns about their teaching materials being used commercially and in unbundled provision has come across strongly in our data collection.

  • Welcome to the course, Trinh!

  • Welcome to the course, Chakela!

  • Thank you for the positive feedback Rajiv, it is much appreciated.

  • @JcaribE Many thanks for the positive feedback. Neil

  • @MafuzaMaya Thanks for the feedback - I am pleased that you have found the course useful, and hopefully you can produce some maps of your own now!

  • Thank you for your feedback. I am pleased to see that this course has stimulated your thoughts in this topic. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • @UB Thank you for sharing these articles with our community.

  • Hello Vicki, and welcome to the course. you bring fascinating experience to our community.

  • Hi Matt, and thanks for joining. You will have very interesting perspectives from learners about their motivations for online study, and I look forward to reading your thoughts.

  • Welcome to the course, Jcarib, and i hope you find it useful. Looking forward to engaging with your contributions.

  • Neil Morris made a comment

    Thank you for engaging with this course this week. There has been rich discussion and we have enjoyed contributing! You might be interested to know that we have participants from over 70 countries enrolled on this course, and significant cohorts from the UK, South Africa, India, USA, Australia, Nigeria, China, Canada and UAE. Clearly, this is a topic which...

  • I agree, UB. I recently heard senior lawyers talking about how artificial intelligence is going to completely disrupt the legal profession, and it is already happening in fields like accountancy. Education needs to keep up with what is happening now in these sectors.

  • This is a really important observation, Keith - I have been trying to encourage a conversation about broadening our definition of 'student' and 'learner' to acknowledge a wider continuum of people who are (or want to) engage with higher education level education. I think it is essential that universities do have a role in education across a broader spectrum,...

  • @SheilaMacNeill Hello Sheila, and welcome to the course! Thanks for joining us. Your experience is invaluable in this community, and I hope you will share your perspectives about unbundling, marketisation and digitisation with colleagues here.

  • Where did this 'big push' come from, Georgie? And has it been welcomed by teaching staff?

  • Do you think that lecturers working with instructional designers to create online/blended learning activities is having any unintended (negative) consequences, Lungile?

  • Really interesting to hear that this shift is happening, UB. Are all staff supportive of this direction of travel?

  • Thanks for your comment, Dorris. Do you think that the fact that staff have found using technology makes things easier is the major driver for engagement and adoption? Are there other technologies that could make lecturers' lives easier?

  • Interesting reflections, thanks for sharing. I've always been intrigued why universities don't partner more on education, particularly when they have overcome barriers to collaboration in research. Any easy answers?

  • Agreed, Keith and Janet, i have been trying to encourage people to think more broadly about the concept of student, as this is broadening along a wider continuum than previously conceived.

  • This is a really good question, Irene - universities may be trying to meet the needs of increasing numbers of stakeholders

  • Interested to hear your thoughts on how the academic role is changing as a result of growth in online education, Rachel? We have been thinking about this as well.

  • Welcome Thandokazi, I hope you find the course useful, and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

  • Welcome, Rachel, hope you find the course stimulating.

  • Welcome, Lungile, and thank you for joining this learning community.

  • Welcome Georgie - you will certainly have interesting insights to add to our community!

  • Welcome Samantha. hope you find the course useful.

  • Welcome to the course, Jason. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts during the course.

  • Welcome to the course, Stephen. Looking forward to hearing your reflections.

  • Many thanks for all your thoughtful comments, Stephen. We will be interested to hear if the course has any impact in your context.

  • Our research suggests that students would consider online learning if it were cheaper, and flexibly available (ie to reduce travel time), but largely our (campus-based) sample of students said they would still do a campus-based degree even if online courses could get them a well paid job.

  • This is really interesting, Alison - which context do you work in?

  • Agreed - many universities are simultaneously thinking about the 'holistic whole' i.e. the programme and moving away from thinking about individual units like modules, whilst also unbundling programmes and marketing individual courses.

  • Brandon - the See Also is a link to the project website briefings https://unbundleduni.com/outputs/publications/policy-briefings/

  • Stephen - these are exactly the type of questions that fascinate me. Can you imagine a time when employers want learners to take a collection of accredited courses from universities around the world, to build a relevant and appropriate CV?

  • Many thanks for your positive feedback, Renate.

  • Welcome Kelly, I hope you find the course useful in your role.

  • Hi Reem - welcome to the course, and thanks for joining us. Really looking forward to hearing your perspectives through the discussion. Neil

  • Welcome to the course, Carla, and many thanks for sharing this interesting article.

  • Hi Gabriel - welcome, and many thanks for joining the course. We are very interested in your reflections on the course from a policy perspective. Neil

  • Hi Siri, and thanks for this contribution. I think you are describing the phenomenon of ‘virtual exhange’ Which we are seeing growing as students can access online courses from other universities without leaving their campus. It would be great to continue this discussion throughout the course, and get perspectives from others.

  • Many thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic, Bill, and for the link to an interesting article.

  • Hi Daniela - good to have you here. We are also concerned by the potential increase in inequality as education moves online, and language is an important consideration.

  • Neil Morris replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    Welcome to the course - I am looking forward to reading your thoughts as you progress through the course.

  • Hi Jared - welcome to the course, and thanks for joining. I hope you found it useful - let us know how discussions go within your team.

  • Brandon, this is a great observation, and one we have discussed many times. Yes, the involvement of for profit companies in online degrees is driving the provision towards particular (large) markets. In my opinion, universities have a responsibility to support all of their disciplines to reach new markets, and evolve their learning and teaching offer.

  • @StephenWebb we have a course on developing learners' digital skills as well :) https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/blended-learning-digital-skills

  • Hi Stephen - I hope you enjoyed Jisc's Digifest event. I agree with your reflections about technologies coming and going. I think that few technologies will really lead to significant disruption in education (in the way that the iPhone did for mobile telephones), but together the advances in technology, and online education, are generating significant pressure...

  • @StephenWebb I agree with this Stephen - degree apprenticeships are a significant potential disruptor - they have elements of the issues we debate here, where external agencies are driving curriculum (employers), learning and teaching is online (to some extent), and there is flexibility for the learner. Digital literacy is a key issue for degree...

  • This is a legitimate challenge, Peter, and we shouldn't necessarily be saying university *should* maintain control, but the issue of 'honorary faculty' (as you describe them) employed by OPMs was certainly a contentious issue in our research - questions about quality, alignment with university values, casualisation of academic labour and unbundled of academic...

  • Hi Peter - good to have you here - I see your logic, but I'm not sure all students would agree that the fee for their education should be used for university activities that they don't directly benefit from (e.g. research equipment not accessible to students). Of course, there is the wider argument that research feeds societal improvement, and research-based...

  • No, we generate income from core activities. E.g. business schools with lots of international masters students paying high fees generates significant income, but this gets invested in more building, more staff, more facilities, more services etc. The difficult questions arise when that fee income is used to cross-subsidise research activity (which might not...

  • A key issue Alicia - the promise of democratisation has not yet been realised by online education - what do we need to change to make that a reality - participants on this course are going to be the people who nudge this issue in a positive direction.

  • Hi Nathan - good to have you on the course - i think this issue is going to be central for universities in the future - what is the USP and benefit of 'belonging to a university'... community, co-curricular, network, facilities, research training etc etc.? It can't just be knowledge and skills any more.

  • And if employers chose the 'bundle' they would pick the elements that they needed their employees to have to succeed in their roles. This could shift the requirement to think about horizontal/vertical integration of curriculum (scaffolding) to the curriculum designer in a company, and away from the university... with consequences?

  • This is a useful challenge, Chris. For me the answer is multi-faceted, and involves a range of factors that influence successful change management in universities. For ease, I'm posted a link to a piece of work I did on this a few years ago where we teased out the factors that support effective change with technology in universities:...

  • I like these examples, Derek, and I agree this is not about mode or study, it is about learning outcomes, individuals and flexible, accessible and pedagogically appropriate learning and teaching. Well designed online education is costly (in may ways) but the potential benefits to meet a more diverse population of learners where they are, and enrich their...

  • I can see you concerns, Brandon, and they are echoed here. In principle, outsourcing of marketing sounds sensible for a university, given that there are specialist companies for marketing, but in my view the problems come when there is a disconnect between the marketing of the 'product' and the holistic understanding of the learning experience and overall...

  • @BrandonMuramatsu yes, this is certainly going to be a growing issue for universities, as their staff profile becomes more diverse. There are also risks of casualisation of teachers, and the unbundling of the academic role itself.

  • @AnnL I hope this doesn't happen Ann, as it would completely erode trust in academia and public universities. As most (but not all) MOOCs / online courses are currently developed by universities, the quality assurance is very high, and for us at least, all content is evidence-, and research-based. There is a legitimate concern that as the number of MOOC...

  • Hi Mike - good question. I agree that in some places, online courses are a bit off the grid, and not within normal quality assurance processes etc. However, speaking for my own university, our assurance of online courses is equivalent to (and in some cases, superior to) that for campus-based courses. It would be interesting to hear from other participants...

  • @KarenFerreira-Meyers I agree, but I don't think that the current form of unbundling that we are seeing would have been possible without the advances in online education platforms.

  • Hi Ann - this is a complex question, depending on the type of distance education, the institution and the country. For example, in the UK, the Open University, a distance education university, has been offering unbundled distance education for over 40 years - students can enrol on individual courses and study by distance; this has been very successful and...

  • Hi Brandon - in the UK, public universities are charities, but are able to generate surplus for investment in university activities. For this reason, we tend to avoid the phrase profit, although that is effectively what is being generated. As we describe in the course, universities are increasingly using online courses as a way to generate third stream income...